Film critics and journalists who turned filmmakers

Are harsher standards set for film critics/ journos who opt for a role reversal?

When Francois Truffant, a renowed French film-critic switched to filmmaking, he said that his background had helped him understand filmmaking as an art well.

A still from Bangistan. INSET: Karan Anshuman
A still from 'Bangistan' and Karan Anshuman(inset)

He remarked, "To be a film critic helped me a lot because it's not enough to be a cinephile and to watch a lot of movies. The necessity to write about films pushes you to get better, and forces you to make a mental gymnastic. It's when you have to sum up a screenplay in ten sentences that you realise its weaknesses or its strength." True or not, several crtics have dabbled in filmmaking over the years.

For instance, 'Bangistan', which is up for release next week, marks the debut of film critic Karan Anshuman. Said to be a satire, the film is about two aspiring terrorists, who are brainwashed into becoming human bombs and blowing themselves up at a world peace conference in Poland.

After spending years as film critics, many have explored the other side of cinema. hitlist gives you a lowdown on such film critics who went on to become filmmakers:

Khalid Mohamed
A longtime journalist and a film critic, Khalid began his film career by writing a script for Shyam Benegal's 'Nammo' in 1995. He followed this up by writing screenplays for Benegal's 'Sardari Begum' (1996) and 'Zubeida' (2001).

A still from Fiza. INSET: Khalid Mohamed
A still from 'Fiza'. Khalid Mohamed(inset)

His first directorial venture, 'Fiza', hit theatres in 2000. The film was based on Bombay riots of 1992–93 that sparked off in the wake of the destruction of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya and had Hrithik Roshan, Karisma Kapoor and Neha in lead roles.

Although the film did average business at the box-office, it was well received by critics. He then went on to direct films such as 'Tehzeeb' (2003), 'Tareekh' (2003), 'Silsiilay' (2005) and a documentary titled 'Last Irani Chai' (2011).

Minty Tejpal
Having worked in television, journalism and advertising as well as a film critic, Minty Tejpal explored filmmaking with a TV movie, 'Kaam Ka Plot' (2011), which starred Ranvir Shorey, Sandhya Mridul and Vinay Pathak in key roles.

A still from Kaam Ka Plot. INSET: Minty Tejpal
A still from Kaam Ka Plot. Minty Tejpal(inset)

Set in the backdrop of the recession which hit India, this 90-minute film tells the tale of a 36-year-old marketing graduate Dashrath Srivastava (Ranvir), who lies to his wife about being employed. In a twist of fate, he meets a photographer (Sandhya) and what starts off as a budding romance turns into an ugly mess which Dashrath can't escape easily.

Raja Sen
Film-critic Raja Sen's movie 'X-The Film' will reportedly make its way into theatres later this year. Termed as an experimental Indian film, the project is directed by a team of 11 filmmakers including Abhinav Shiv Tiwari, Anu Menon, Nalan Kumarasamy, Hemant Gaba, Pratim D Gupta, Q, Raja Sen, Rajshree Ojha, Sandeep Mohan, Sudhish Kamath and Suparn Verma.

Huma Qureshi in X-The Film. INSET: Raja Sen
Huma Qureshi in 'X-The Film'. Raja Sen(inset)

In 2013, the directors clarified that the film is not an anthology, but a whole story with the eleven directors making sections of it.

Sudhish Kamath
With an experience of writing on films and entertainment for over 17 years, Kamath dabbled in filmmaking when he produced, directed and wrote a feature-length English film called 'That Four Letter Word' (2006), which revolved around a group of friends at the crossroads of life.

A still from The Four Letter Word. INSET: Sudhish Kamath
A still from 'The Four Letter Word'. Sudhish Kamath(inset)

The film was one of the first films to be released in the digital format in India and among the first films in the world to be released online free. His second film 'Good Night | Good Morning' starring Manu Narayan and Seema Rahmani was screened at various international film festivals and got a theatrical release in India in 2012. Most recently, Kamath, is part of the 11-member directorial team of the yet-to-be-released film titled 'X-The Film'.

Pratim D Gupta
Journalist, film-critic and screenwriter, Pratim D Gupta got his first break with a Bengali romantic drama, 'Paanch Adhyay' (2012).

A still from Paanch Adhyay. INSET: Pratim D Gupta
A still from 'Paanch Adhyay'. Pratim D Gupta(inset)

The film featured Dia Mirza and Priyanshu Chatterjee in lead roles and revolved around a contemporary Indian couple that finds and loses love over a period of time. The film shifts between the past and the present. 'Paanch Adhyay' was selected as the Centerpiece Premiere at the South Asian International Film Festival in New York and in the New Voice in Indian Cinema section at the Mumbai Film Festival. It also won the Best Film Award at the Kalakar Awards.

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